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Digital transformation: German companies lull themselves into a sense of security




For the third time in a row, German corporations were surveyed on digital transformation. At first glance, the results of the GfK survey* commissioned by digital consultancy Etventure sound very plausible and positive for 2018. It states that the importance of digitization is steadily increasing and that companies feel they are well positioned. But we read in the foreword of the study that this is only half the truth:

“German companies are lulling themselves into a supposed sense of security when it comes to digital transformation – tech giants like Google and Amazon are not recognized as competitors.”

This sentence from Philipp Depiereux, Managing Director of Etventure, prompted us to take a closer look at the results of the study and filter out the essentials for you.

The topic has arrived in the boardrooms

68 percent of companies have placed the topic either directly with the CEO or in a board and management area.

The human factor is becoming more important

Companies are investing heavily in training programs to provide employees with digital know-how and agile methods.

Corporate culture must change, but is doing so very slowly

The absolute majority of German companies (80 percent) believe that a change in corporate culture is “important” or even “very important” for the success of the digital transformation.

Progress is very slow

Companies continue to struggle with major obstacles, first and foremost the defense of existing structures (58 percent), a lack of experience with user-centric approaches (51 percent) and blocking security requirements (48 percent).

The impact of digitization is underestimated

Around half of the companies expect a strong or even very strong change in their respective industry as a result of digitization. At the same time, only 21 percent believe that their own business model is also under equally strong pressure to change.

Rather own competitors than tech giants are taken seriously as competitors

Only 22 percent see large tech companies such as Amazon or Google as the strongest competitive threat and only seven percent feel their position is threatened by young startups.

Our conclusion:

On the positive side,

  • that digital transformation is now seen as a matter for the boss, and
  • that employee skills and training are perceived and implemented as elementary components of digitization.

What should make us think, however:

  • Companies are struggling with internal resistance,
  • assume that it will have little impact on their own business models, and do not
  • do not realize how dangerous the tech giants already are for certain industries. Their advantages are: Data, speed, financial opportunities, software expertise and customer proximity.

*Representative survey of around 2,000 large German companies with minimum annual sales of 250 million euros. Decision-makers who deal with the topic of digitization in the respective companies were surveyed.


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Note: This is a machine translation. It is neither 100% complete or 100% correct. We can therefore not guarantee the result.


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